Associate Open Interviews, February 7, 2023

Ottumwa Community School District

Ottumwa, Iowa

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Date Posted January 25, 2023
Industry K-12: Public Schools
Specialty Not Specified
Certification Needed
Job Status Not Specified
Salary Not Specified


Job ID #3018

Position: Associate-Walk In Interviews - February 7, 2023 at the District Office, 1112 N Van Buren, Ottumwa. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (2022-2023 School Year)

The Ottumwa Community School Distirct has openings for Regular Education, Special Education and Under Resourced Teacher Associates for the 2022-2023 School Year. On-line applications are currently being accepted.

Duties may include working with a wide variety of students with various needs on both academic and social skills. Supervision of special needs students and regular education students within the general education setting and other aspects of the school day. Duties may require assisting students with toileting or diapering that may include lifting as well as other basic living skills. Duties may also require specific medical skills or knowledge for which additional training will be provided. Other duties may be assigned.

We will have Walk In Interviews the first Tuesday of the month for Teacher Associates. Please apply online prior to the day of the interview. If you don't have access to a computer we will have computers available for you to fill out the application. Please bring two forms of ID with you to the interview. Come join our team and Be The Best!

Paraeducators serve a vital role in helping students be successful, deliver special education services and support a safe and productive educational environment. At OCSD, all staff operate on the following agreed upon core beliefs:

*Every student matters

*Building relationships is the foundation of success

*We will meet the needs of all students

*Data will drive our decision making

*Collaboration and teamwork are necessary for success

*All students can learn at high levels

Paraeducators serve many roles to support student learning, below are a list of common questions and their answers related to the roles and responsibilities of paraeducators.

Q: Who sets my schedule?

A: Your schedule is set by the building administrator who works closely with the special education teachers. Your assignment can change based on student and building needs.

Q: When is my start and end time?

A: Your start and end time will be determined by the building administrator based on student needs. Some para’s start the day before school to support students in before school activities and end their day early. Others may start later in the day and stay longer for afterschool activities. Most paras will start at the start of the school day and end at the same time as students.

Q: What student(s) do I work with?

A: The special education special education teacher will help you with which student(s) you will be working with. Often your supports will be for multiple students in a classroom and not just one student, but on occasion, students may have a “one on one” support dedicated to health and safety needs.

Q: What do I do with the students I am assigned to support?

A: The special education teacher and classroom teacher are there to help you identify your responsibilities in the classroom. Responsibilities can include, but are not limited to: collecting data, logging behavior, implementing behavior plans, supervising (transitions, recess, bus duty, transportation, lunch, or any other unstructured time), keeping students on task, etc.

Q: Can I talk to other students?

A: Of course, as long as it is part of a productive classroom! You will have some specific responsibilities for specific students, but you can still be a helpful professional in the classroom with the support and guidance of the teacher(s) in the room.

Q: Who tells me what to do?

A: Building administrators, in collaboration with special education teachers, will define your schedule. Advocates will help you know what your responsibilities are and the teacher(s) in the classroom will help guide you with expectations. If you are not sure what the expectations are or need a point in the right direction, there are a lot of people there to help. As an important member of the team, consult with the teachers on what you should do. They should offer guidance about what is expected of you, lesson plans, constructive feedback, and how you will know if what you are doing is successful. Teachers might give you guidance, support and modeling on time management, effective communication, team work, professionalism, problem solving and behavior management.

Q: What if the parents want to talk to me?

A: If parents ask, you can provide information regarding daily routines or upcoming events. Some students may need progress logs sent home. The special education teacher can help out with how that communication should look. If questions related to progress, instruction or specific needs come up, you should direct the parent/family to the special education special education teacher. You can say, “those are really good questions, I need ______ to help answer them.”

Q: Who can I talk to about….?

A: If you have concerns about how things are going with a student, need support for what your role in meeting the needs of the IEP, or have constructive suggestions to increase a students independence, the special education teacher is your best contact. You can also consult with the classroom teacher or a building administrator as well. Remember though, when it comes to students and IEP’s, confidentiality is very, very important. We can’t talk about students, IEP’s or programming outside of school and outside the purpose of supporting the student or we would break a student and families right to confidentiality. Parents and students have a right to privacy; talking about behavior, medical needs, or academic performance outside of school. Communication should really be focused through the special education special education teacher, and your knowledge of the student can be incredibly important in the design of the student's IEP.

If you have other concerns you feel need to be addressed, the district has a concern form (Staff->District Documents->Concern form) where you can share what the concern is and offer suggestions to rectify the situation.

Q: What do we ultimately want to happen for a student with paraeducator support?

A: Like we said above, paraeducator support can be vital in helping a student succeed. The IEP team makes the decision about what services a student needs to be successful, including paraeducator support. As soon as the team makes the decision to add paraeducator support they should start the discussion about how to eliminate the need for this support. Your job as the paraeducator is to help the student(s) become more independent, even if you are working with preschool students, we want their day to look as much like their peers as possible and have the same reliance on adults. Helping students do as much as possible on their own and with less support should always be our goal. The best indicator of a great job is that students do not need extra support anymore.

Q: Can I discipline students? Can I send them to the office?

A: Paraeducators should not be responsible for managing student behavior on their own. Teachers should still rely on classroom management techniques they would use with any other student to help support a student's behavioral needs. The paraeducator’s job is to support and assist the teacher or administrator by following that behavior plan. The supervising teacher should explain all the material in a student’s behavior intervention plan (BIP) and/or individualized education plan (IEP) to the paraeducator, including the role he or she wants the paraeducator to play. It’s also important that paraeducators understand and follow the district’s policies on discipline, restraint and seclusion, and requirements for documenting student behavior. The supervising teacher will provide direction on the specific strategies he or she wants the paraeducator to use. But there are things paraeducators can do that are universally helpful in behavior management.

  • Catch them being good. Your response to good behavior can have a big impact on the likelihood of that behavior occurring again.

  • Develop good relationships with the students. Students tend to behave in more positive ways for adults with whom they share a respectful and nurturing relationship.

  • Model respectful behavior. Speak to students the way you want them to speak to one another, listen when the teacher is speaking, and support the teacher’s decisions.

  • Stay calm and positive. When you stay calm it can also have a positive, calming effect on a student who is upset, anxious or angry.

  • Assist the teacher in providing structure, routine, and organization. Students are less likely to misbehave in environments where expectations are clear and consistent.

  • Interrupt and redirect. By changing the subject, switching activities temporarily, offering assistance or providing encouragement you can often slow the momentum and calm the student down.

Successful applicants must possess one of the following: A) 2 yr. college degree; or B) 48 college semester hours; or C) ParaEducator certificate; or D) COMPASS test with minimum of Reading 57, Writing 50, Pre-algebra Math 43; or E) Accuplacer Next Generation test results with a minimum composite score of 750. (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic added together.)

The Ottumwa Community School District has an established policy of equal employment opportunity with respect to race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, age or disability. The district also has an established policy of taking affirmative action in recruitment, appointment, assignment, and advancement of women, minorities, and disabled. We expect the administration to make certain that no employee or applicant for employment be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, gender (sex), age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion or creed.